Mets lose on walk-off balk, Max Scherzer's comments on the Mets plan, Billy Eppler's stated plan going forward
On a day three more players are shipped out, New York loses in embarrassing fashion
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets lost to the Royals 7-6 in 10 innings on Tuesday night in unfathomable fashion (Box)
Entering in a tie game with the bases loaded in the 10th, LHP Josh Walker balked in the winning run before ever throwing a pitch
Francisco Alvarez blasted a two-run homer in the top of the 10th that looked like it would be the game winner before the ill-fated bottom of the frame
Pete Alonso blasted his 31st home run of the season in the 2nd inning
Brooks Raley struggled mightily trying to convert the save, giving up two RBI hits to tie the game and getting only one out
Jose Quintana pitched well, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on six hits
D.J. Stewart quietly had a nice night at the plate going 2-for-3 with a walk
Injury Updates 🏥
Brandon Nimmo was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup with a strained quad and is listed as day-to-day
Starling Marte (migraines) could return during the club’s series against the Royals
Roster Moves 🗞️
RHP Justin Verlander traded to Houston (Story)
OF Tommy Pham traded to Arizona (Story)
RHP Dominic Leone traded to the Angels (Story)
RHP Phil Bickford and LHP Adam Kolarek acquired from the Dodgers (Story)
Recalled C Michael Pérez from Triple-A Syracuse
Recalled LHP Josh Walker from Triple-A Syracuse
Recalled RHP John Curtiss from Triple-A Syracuse
Selected the contract of OF Michael Ortega from Triple-A Syracuse
News and Notes 🎵
Mets owner and CEO Steve Cohen said the Mets will not realize the impact of their prospect acquisitions for at least two years, as 2024 is now looking like a “transitory” year (New York Post)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (50-56) at Royals (33-75)
Starting pitchers: RHP Kodai Senga (7-5, 3.17 ERA) vs. TBD
Where: Kauffman Stadium – Kansas City, MO
When: 8:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Billy Eppler’s post trade deadline remarks 📣
After the trade deadline passed on Tuesday, Mets GM Billy Eppler met with reporters to discuss the team’s moves and decisions before the trade deadline.
The Mets parted ways with a total of eight players and as much as $108 million in present day and potential future salaries to other clubs to acquire prospects and restock their farm system over the last month…
He continued to insist the Mets will field a competitive team in 2024, although he maintained the club will not be aggressive in the top-tier of free agency
The goal with trading players away along with cash was to accelerate the growth of their farm system.
“One of the goals here is to expedite the longer-term goal. We’re trying to restock and reload the farm system. You have to go through a little pain to get where we want to go, but I feel like the organization is making strides towards a better future.”
They will assess the players they’ve brought up and will continue to bring up from the minor leagues this season, which will help determine how much they need to invest in free agency this winter
“Whether we go in for a couple of starting pitchers or not will be seen over these next couple of months. Whether we have to go in for a couple of outfielders, that might be the case as well. We’ll go in for some bullpen as well. We’ll just see how things unfold in the next couple of months.”
The Mets want to build a model of sustainability which allows them to cultivate prospects through their own pipeline and supplement their cores with free agency, rather than depend strictly on the free agent and trade markets to build their future rosters
Eppler acknowledged the loss of Edwin Díaz was too much for the pitching staff to absorb despite the strong performance of David Robertson as their step-in closer this season
Max Scherzer reveals the contents of his meeting with Eppler/Cohen, and what’s left as the club looks years into the future… ✍️
Following the Mets game with the Nationals last Friday—a 5-1 victory in which Max Scherzer earned his ninth win of the season—New York’s veteran right-handed pitcher wanted answers.
His feelings about the club’s decision to trade closer David Robertson to Miami were abundantly clear.
Scherzer pointedly expressed his desire to have a conversation with the Mets front office and ownership about the future of the organization, with his frustration oozing out of his pores.
Listening to him speak annoyed me, to be perfectly honest. As it did a lot of people and to be fair, for good reason.
Scherzer was pissed over the team’s (logical) decision to cut its losses on a disappointing season and attempt to add young talent to an organization needing an infusion of it. My first reaction was, yeah but what about the role you played in getting us here?
The three-time Cy Young award winner spoke like somebody who hasn’t been sporting an ERA over four all season—his worst mark in 12 years. He spoke like somebody who hadn’t gotten himself suspended for a sticky stuff violation in Los Angeles and left the Mets shorthanded and behind the eight ball for two weeks.
In other words, on one side of his mouth he was saying, ‘we stink, and I am one of the reasons why,’ and on the other side he was demanding an explanation and road map for where this team is going.
Like, dude, you (and a lot of others) are the reason Robertson was traded to begin with and set all of this in motion. No offense, of course.
More to the point, a guy who always portrayed an air of leadership and respect, sounded nothing short of a sore loser who refused to take any accountability for the team’s predicament.
I literally thought to myself, this guy won’t pitch for the Mets again.
Sure enough, less than 24 hours later Scherzer was traded to the Rangers in exchange for exciting young Luisangel Acuña who will instantly become one of the centerpieces of the Mets, “restock and reload,” as Mets GM Billy Eppler put it to reporters last night.
And on Tuesday, we learned some of the details of the meeting Scherzer ultimately did have with Mets brass.
Scherzer told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal that he was informed the by Billy Eppler and Steve Cohen that the Mets were going to take a step back in 2024 and that the team’s target window is not ‘25 and ‘26. They indicated more trades were coming in an effort to reach that goal.
“I talked to Billy,” Scherzer explained. “I was like, ‘OK, are we reloading for 2024?’ He goes, ‘No, we’re not. Basically our vision now is for 2025-2026, ‘25 at the earliest, more like ‘26. We’re going to be making trades around that.’
He said he wanted to hear this from Mets owner Steve Cohen himself, who echoed the same timeline as Eppler, after which Scherzer told the Mets he would waive his no trade clause to go to a contender.
Mr. Cohen - who was traveling to Kansas City to meet with the team following the trade deadline - told the New York Post yesterday something similar in a text message.
“We will be competitive in ’24 but I think 25-26 is when our young talent makes an impact. Lots of pitching in free agency in ’24. More payroll flexibility in ’25. Got a lot of dead money in ’24.”
Presumably, Justin Verlander was told the same thing.
During last night’s press conference, Eppler declined to address Scherzer’s comments.
Now on the surface, those insinuations are incredibly troubling as a diehard fan of this team. But after thinking about it for a while, I’m taking them with a grain of salt. First of all, understand the context. Max Scherzer was in possession of a full no-trade clause, was comfortable in New York with the Mets, and lives in Jupiter, FL not far from the Mets spring training complex in Port St. Lucie.
As one of the team’s best trade chips, Scherzer could promise to bring back an elite prospect. If the Mets intention was to trade him, their ambitions could have been nixed had he exercised his right to veto a move. If Scherzer had been told the Mets were hellbent on bolstering the team in free agency again this winter and taking another shot at this thing, he would undoubtedly have agreed to ride this season out and see how 2024 goes before exercising his $43 million player option for 2024.
So is it possible he was fed a little white lie once the Mets learned they could acquire Acuña? Yes.
Also, is taking a step back really that concerning for the Mets? This team just sported the highest payroll in baseball history and took unprecedented risks in the process, that which clearly did not work out for them. What does taking a step back from that even look like? A team still in the top five in financial commitments?
Looking at the Mets roster heading into 2024, I’m sorry but I just don’t see the situation as doom and gloom as some on Twitter would have you believe.
This team’s position player core remains very much still in place.
Pete Alonso is and will always be one of the absolute elite power hitters in the sport.
Francisco Lindor is one of the very best two-way shortstops in baseball.
Brandon Nimmo does almost everything at a high level
Jeff McNeil has had a bit of a disappointing situation but it also feels a lot like his 2021 campaign. In case you forgot—he rebounded to win the batting title the next year.
Francisco Álvarez will be the starting catcher from jump street in 2024 after emerging as one of the sport’s biggest power threats himself as a rookie
Starling Marte is still under contract and should be healthier and hopefully back to being more like himself
Then there’s young players like Brett Baty and Mark Vientos who have both shown potential this year and have two months to prove they can be counted on as ‘24 regulars.
The Mets will by and large bring back the same line-up they utilized this season and make no mistake, while it might seem like this team’s best players have struggled a little in 2023—New York has scored plenty of runs to win a lot more games than it has. The team’s issue is and has been all year it’s pitching staff. Tuesday night’s debacle in Kansas City was a perfect embodiment of how the season has gone.
So if we’re comfortable enough with the 2024 offense, let’s dive into the heart of the Mets current problems and how to fix them.
Without Scherzer or Verlander, the team’s 2024 rotation as of now would be:
…..and that’s it.
Sure the likes of David Peterson and Tylor Megill will be options, but the Mets have seemingly already decided to abandon those ships. But I’m just not convinced the club is not going to attempt to bring in several new pitchers in what could actually be a much better rotation than we’ve seen this year.
Because let’s be frank, Scherzer and Verlander were more names than performance here in 2023.
Still, the Mets will have to go into free agency and fill their needs - Michael Baron detailed a potential strategy for that yesterday. Names like Lucas Giolito, German Marquez will be available and could potentially be had on short term agreements.
Blake Snell, Julio Urias and Eduardo Rodriguez are also free-agents though they would presumably take more of a long-term commitment.
Then there’s Japanese phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto. After seeing the success of Senga in Queens, could he choose to join his countryman in a big-league rotation? Can the Mets assume another one of those longer-term risks?
What I’m saying here is that there’s just no way the Mets rotation could be worse next year than it’s been here in 2023, although it’s hard to envision it being a whole lot better.
On the other hand, swapping some of the underperforming veterans they’ve started this year for guys in need of a change of scenery could catch lightning in a bottle, especially as stop gaps before the team’s better minor league pitchers like Mike Vasil and Blade Tidwell can bubble to the top of surface of their organization’s system.
Not to mention the impact the return of Edwin Díaz will have on the bullpen and team as a whole.
Now, sure, could we be in for a dark season in 2024 and/or 2025? Maybe. Will the Mets win the World Series in 2024? Probably not. But hey, I for one am not willing to completely jump to conclusions on a season that hasn’t even come close to beginning solely based on the offhanded comments of a guy on his way out the door. This owner knows his customer base is unwilling and unable to stomach a clean slate rebuild from the ground up, which is why he just invested $108 million - an unprecedented amount of money - to accelerate the growth of their now revitalized farm system. It doesn’t mean his own stated timeline of 2025 or 2026 will stick, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen sooner.
I suppose we just have to wait, see, be patient, and be tolerant once again for however long this takes.
Around the League 🚩
Astros southpaw Framber Valdez threw a no-hitter against the Guardians
Michael Harris II homered twice in Atlanta’s 5-1 victory at home over the Angels
Anthony Santander crushed a grand slam in the Orioles 13-3 rout of the Blue Jays
Ex-Met David Robertson blew the save and allowed three 9th inning runs in the Marlins 3-1 loss to Philly
Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz both homered against Carlos Rodon in the Rays 5-1 victory in the Bronx